Associates in Advocacy now has two sites on the internet. Our primary help site is at http://www.aiateam.org/. There AIA seeks to offer aid to troubled pastors, mainly those who face complaints and whose careers are on the line.

Help is also available to their advocates, their caregivers, Cabinets, and others trying to work in that context.

This site will be a blog. On it we will address issues and events that come up.

We have a point of view about ministry, personnel work, and authority. We intend to take the following very seriously:


Some of our denomination's personnel practices have real merit. Some are deeply flawed. To tell the difference, we go to these criteria to help us know the difference.

We also have a vision of what constitutes healthy leadership and authority. We believe it is in line with Scripture, up-to-date managerial practice, and law.

To our great sadness, some pastors who become part of the hierarchy of the church, particularly the Cabinet, have a vision based on their being in control as "kings of the hill," not accountable to anyone and not responsible to follow the Discipline or our faith and practice. They do not see that THE GOLDEN RULE applies to what they do.

If you are reading this, the chances are you are not that way. We hope what we say and do exemplify our own best vision and will help you fulfill yours. But we cannot just leave arrogance, incompetence, and ignorance to flourish. All of us have the responsibility to minimize those in our system.

We join you in fulfilling our individual vow of expecting to be perfect in love in this life and applying that vow to our corporate life in the United Methodist Church.

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If you have any questions or suggestions, direct them to Rev. Jerry Eckert. His e-mail address is aj_eckert@hotmail.com. His phone number is 941 743 0518. His address is 20487 Albury Drive, Port Charlotte, FL 33952.

Thank you.


Monday, August 19, 2019

JCD 1375

The Bishops Strike Early

The Council’s Fall 2018 session pretty much shot down most of the Calvinists’ (most would say “traditionalists” but I like my terms of Arminian and Calvinist better since both have long traditions in the UMC)  petitions in JCD 1366.  There are very gifted church law people in the Calvinists’ group and they went to work to try to work around what the Council pointed out were unconstitutional in their plan.  The Council of Bishops (hereinafter the Bishops) met just before GC2019 and requested declaratory decisions related to some of the Calvinists’ revised petitions.  This request dealt with two elements of that plan, streamlining the process for dealing with allegations related to homosexuals and setting up an international tribunal for homosexuality allegations against bishops under the Council of Bishops.

The  Calvinists saw a pattern in how allegations were handled over the last couple quadrennia.  Those conferences and jurisdictions where the Arminians predominated, the allegations tended to be dropped somewhere between the supervisory response to a written complaint from a Calvinist and a trial.  

So one petition to the GC2019 cut out practically everything from the complaint to the trial at the conference level and tried to establish a special committee on investigation on the General Conference level..  The Council jumped on that one, saying it removed the right of the annual conference to process the complaint, a violation of the constitution (Par. 33).

The other petition wanted to set up an international judicial committee of bishops under the Bishops in an attempt to get away from how Arminian jurisdictions could slow walk or drop homosexuality-related complaints.

The Council clobbered that petition because the constitution (Par. 50) gives accountability to the jurisdictions where the bishops are elected.

That ruling was shared with GC2019.  The related petitions were dropped.

Was the Council supporting the Arminians?  I do not think so.  The constitution is clear on both counts.  This was a by-the-book decision.

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